Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lutterloh Patterns Come Alive! - FASHION FLASHBACK

Supplement 37 Model#20 - Summer 1950
This is my version of a Lutterloh dress from the Summer of 1950. Obviously I don't have the slim figure or the restrictive undergarments of a model from that era so my dress can't look the same. Nonetheless I'm pleased with the outcome and am happy to wear this lovely frock.

The poodles are not mine. I was with friends strolling in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a little resort town in Northern California, when we took the photos. My friends saw a man walking these dogs and insisted I needed them as props for the photo. They do lend some elegance to the whole scene, don't they?

Pattern Drafting Hints:
I have found there is no point in rushing into these vintage Lutterloh patterns. You can see from the pattern pieces in the photo below that the construction of these vintage patterns is not always as straight forward as the current ones we're used to today.
First of all you absolutely need a vintage Lutterloh scale or at least a current scale attached to a tape measure with all the centimeters marked. I have erased most of the numbers from the pattern above but if you look closely you'll see that there is a 24.3 on the front bodice and a 59.8 on the back skirt piece. The current Lutterloh scales are attached to tapes with only full and half centimeters marked. You could take your tape apart and attach it to the other side of the tape but I'd rather just use a different tape with a vintage scale. 

Next, you may notice that there is no sleeve pattern on this page. I looked over and over at all the pattern pages in this supplement and didn't find a sleeve pattern for models 20/21 so I had to use a sleeve from a different pattern for this dress. At least Lutterloh makes that part easy. 

Lastly, and perhaps most important of all, for this particular pattern there is no separate collar piece. I had to think this through very carefully to figure out how and in what order to attach the collar to the back bodice. When I was done enlarging this pattern the collar piece seemed too short to wrap around the top of the back bodice. Upon measuring this collar piece it looked like it would be about an inch short of meeting at the center back so I added a half inch in addition to my seam allowance at the center back of the collar. In retrospect I suppose it may have been intended to have a separated collar at the back but that's not how I envisioned it. I'm still not certain I attached it correctly since there is a very sharp corner at the inside of the shoulder that then wraps around to the back collar. It does work this way though so I'm satisfied with my construction decisions.

Fabric Used/Suggested:
I asked my aunt,who's 95 this year, what fabric she would have used to make this dress in 1950. She couldn't quite remember so she pulled out a vintage McCalls pattern and found that most of the fabrics suggested would have been cotton or silk. I chose a 100% cotton lawn in a print that just plain makes me happy. The fabric is a tiny bit sheer so I do need a slip underneath. Since the skirt is cut on the bias I believe almost any light to medium weight fabric could work for this dress, even a knit if that floats your boat.

Design Changes:
Other than my typical fitting alterations I didn't need to change anything about the overall design of this pattern. I did however shorten the skirt by three inches to update the look a little. This brought the skirt up to just below my knees.

Although not really a design change, I did put an invisible zipper in the side seam. If you look carefully at the pattern photo you'll see both the back bodice and the back skirt are cut on the fold. In these vintage patterns there is often no suggestion of a closure so the decision is left up to the user. Clearly this dress needs some sort of opening to get it over your head so this left me with the side seam option.

Closing Tips:
One of the nice features of Lutterloh patterns, whether vintage or current, is the possibility of switching sleeves, skirts or collars and such. If you have a copy of these vintage patterns and their corresponding vintage scale they are an absolutely worthwhile challenge. Just don't expect to whip through them with the ease with which we produce our more modern Lutterloh garments.

After this dress I think I'll move on to a quick, easy project. There's something so satisfying about finishing another project! 

Speaking of moving on, there should be a new Lutterloh supplement #297 coming out any day now. I usually check the German Lutterloh site for the earliest preview.
Ann in Calif.